1st ICAI 2020

International Conference on Automotive Industry 2020

Mladá Boleslav, Czech Republic

This short paper is organised as follows. We present a brief overview of the literature and background on the Hungarian automotive industry, followed by the methodology. The next section contains the results of the input-output analysis, followed by the findings from the company interviews. The last section presents a summary of the paper. 2. The Hungarian automotive industry: a brief presentation and review of the literature In a country with no car, just bus production during the more than 40 years of socialism, after the transition process started, Opel made the first automotive investment for engine production in 1990 as part of the regional strategy of GM in Europe (Bartlett and Seleny 1998). More importantly, the first assembly investment was made by the Japanese company, Suzuki by forming a joint venture firm, ‘Magyar Suzuki Corporation’ in 1991, followed by the German Audi in 1993 and Mercedes in 2008. Thus in 2020, of four original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), three firms are engaged in the vehicle assembly operation in the country and one of them produces engines as well, as its main activity. In addition, there are over 700 automotive suppliers in Hungary, both foreign-owned and Hungarian-owned. It is estimated that 175,800 jobs are created by the automotive industry, which is approximately 4% of the total employment of the country in 2017. Vehicle output has exceeded more than 400.000 units in 2018, representing more than one fifth of exports and one third of manufacturing production (HIPA 2018). Efficiency-seeking and export-platform foreign carmakers are attracted by low labour costs, flexible labour laws, good infrastructure, generous investment incentives and proximity to European markets. In Hungary, expectations were high concerning the dynamising and growth impact of automotive investments and their positive impact on local companies mainly through backward linkages and spillovers. However, these expectations were not fulfilled: with some exceptions, local content originating from Hungarian suppliers has remained relatively low (Pavlínek et al., 2017), though company-level (Kazainé, 2013; Szalavetz, 2019) and macro-level (Sass-Szalavetz, 2013) analysis point to some upgrading over time. 3. Methodology Our paper relies on a combined methodology. First, through the analysis of inverse input-output matrixes, we present the local and international links of the Hungarian automotive industry and estimate, where (in which activities) local suppliers play an important role and from which countries the various inputs used by the industry in Hungary come. Second, we supplement the results of the above analysis with information gained from company interviews and one interview with the representative of HIPA (Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency) and one with JETRO. In these interviews, we try to assess and identify the various factors, which influence the choice of inputs (local or foreign, and if foreign, from which country sources), and we list the most important factors influencing the extent of reliance on local suppliers by multinational firms. Furthermore, we conducted three interviews with successful local (Hungarian-


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